Do you remember Mirror’s Edge? Better yet, did you play both it and its sequel? EA and DICE’S phenomenal parkour-based adventure games may have spoken to a small crowd, but there was no denying they were stylistically gorgeous, enthralling, and innovative games, moving the first-person control scheme in a way forward that I had hoped would become the new norm.
Now while that didn’t happen, and only a few games make use of the parkour move as sublime as Mirror’s Edge, at least there are still games inspired by it. Hirilun seems to be one of those games – a 3D FPS platformer, designed purely as a playground for speed-running. There’s no real story here, just a course for you to get through in the fastest time possible, while competing on leaderboards for the fastest times.
Each of the six levels has three different times for you to beat, with each cleared awarding you a star that goes towards unlocking the next level. Higher levels require more stars, of course, meaning that you will be replaying them over and over for the fastest times. While there are checkpoints that you have to pass through, there are always multiple paths through each level and it’s up to you to find the fastest route. There’s a massive emphasis on vertical level design, both ascending and descending, with some memorable set pieces like a massive water fountain that you have to ascend, or transparent, box-delivering pipes to navigate.
While Hirilun doesn’t make use of the usual parkour move set such as wall-running or wall-jumps, it complements its forward momentum with three skills designed primarily for getting you from one platform to the next as quickly as possible. Each of the skills has a usage meter that drains down and recharging them is dependent on the level. You can sprint, dash along the ground or in the air, and glide for a brief time.
Levels are designed with these abilities in mind and a fair amount of precision movement is required to stop yourself from overshooting ledges. Your overall sense of movement is slightly floaty, which is both helpful and a hindrance at times, requiring delicate micro-movements on ledges and at the edges of platforms.
Talking of precision, Hirilun does have one problem for me that makes movement frustrating – analog calibration. Either the deadzones are not calibrated correctly, or the sensitivity on the axes is too low, but movement in Hirilun, specifically looking around, can feel jerky. There isn’t a smooth camera flow as you look around but more of a jerk from one point to the next. That same deadzone issue seems to affect the left analog as well, which makes movement feel a tad jerky – though not to the same degree on the right stick.
As you might expect, this makes precision movement at speed a problem. Initially, I had to stop or slow down to line up my jumps, until I learnt to compensate by jiggling to the left or right when jumping to land where I wanted to. It’s no replacement for smooth camera movement though. Worse still, there’s no way to tweak the analog deadzone or any sliders for sensitivity. It’s the only flaw in Hirilun’s engaging gameplay, but it’s a major one that I hope future patches resolve, or the developers can add some calibration options for the thumbsticks.
Visually, Hirilun’s stark, monochrome visual design is fantastic, looking like a cross between a black-and-white comic panel and a charcoal sketch. Hirilun’s cityscape design dwarfs the player, with a world seemingly built for giants. Benches, pipes, and stairs all loom over the player, making even the most mundane of environments feel like an intimidating obstacle course. Complementing the visuals is a snappy soundtrack to keep you moving.
Now although it took me a while to get used to Hirilun’s movement and wonky analog sensitivity, once I did, I found an engaging and fun parkour platforming game designed smartly on a budget. With its great monochrome visual style, a solid soundtrack, and some great level design, Hirilun is perfect for those who just love getting from A to B in the fastest, most efficient way possible.
Hirilun was reviewed on Xbox Series S|X using a code provided to gameblur by the publisher. It is also available on PC, PS4/PS5, and Nintendo Switch.
Hirilun (Xbox Series) ReviewHirilun (Xbox Series) Review
- Simple but fun level design
- Great monochrome art style
- Good soundtrack
- Analog sensitivity is off and needs patching or customisation options